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Creamy Chicken Taquitos.

I’ve been MIA for awhile… We’re preparing for Baby Girl to get here in less than 2 weeks, & my energy level hasn’t exactly kept up with the to-do list.

One item on that to-do list that I have been able to check off has been to make double batches of meals & freeze half, like these meatballs, & these taquitos:

I adapted the recipe from the Our Best Bites that have been all over Pinterest. Theirs uses green salsa & green onions; not having either of those on hand, I made mine “red” taquitos. (Or rather, since they’re creamy, maybe they’re “pink” taquitos.) I also decreased the spice factor a little, since The Munchkin seems to not sleep well after consuming moderate amounts of chili powder. Weird? Yes. Could just be correlation rather than causation, but it’s true.

  • 3 oz. Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup medium salsa
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. dried cilantro (or 3 Tbsp. fresh, but seriously, dried cilantro is like my new favorite addition to my spice cabinet)
  • 1 Tbsp. finely minced yellow onion
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • small flour or corn tortillas*
  • salt

* I first tried it with both types, & while the corn would be healthier & higher in fiber, they just didn’t hold up. Observe:

The cracked ones on the left are the corn. So now I just use flour.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 & line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients until well incorporated. Then mix in the cilantro & onions.
  3. Add chicken & cheese & mix thoroughly.
  4. Heat a few tortillas at a time between 2 paper towels in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or so. Then spoon a couple Tbsp. of the chicken mixture onto the bottom third of a tortilla & roll it as tightly as possible. Place, seam-side-down, on the cookie sheet.
  5. Repeat with remaining chicken mixture & tortillas, then spray with cooking spray & sprinkle with salt.
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden.
  7. If you want to freeze them, place them in a single layer on a greased baking sheet & freeze for a half hour or so, then place in a labeled Ziploc bag for up to 3 months & bake at 425 for 20 minutes.
  8. If you have leftovers, freeze any baked taquitos & microwave on high for a minute to a minute & 10 seconds. They won’t be crispy, but still delicious.

Now, I will likely be MIA for a little while longer until I get used to being a mommy of 2 Munchkins. Until then!

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S’mores Bars.

Wow. Just wow. Blondies + s’mores = droooooooool…

I pinned this months ago, but I’ve never been a consumer of Marshmallow Fluff — in fact, any time I think about it, the line from Julie & Julia comes to mind, “What eez zees marshmallow fluff?” But I followed Mel’s advice & overcame my Fear of the Fluff. SO WORTH IT.

Overcome your Fear of the Fluff & make these. Now. (Original recipe here.)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about a sleeve of graham crackers, crushed)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups marshmallow fluff or creme
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I used semisweet, but milk would be more authentically s’mores)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9×13 pan with foil, leaving an overhang on the short edges, & spray the foil with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream together butter & brown sugar. Beat in eggs & vanilla.
  4. Reduce speed to low & gradually add flour mixture until combined.
  5. Divide dough in half. Press one half into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer.
  6. Dollop on the marshmallow topping & gently spread in an even layer.
  7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.
  8. Scatter remaining dough in clumps on top, leaving some of the marshmallow & chocolate peeking through.
  9. Bake 30-32 minutes, or until golden & the marshamllow is good & toasty.
  10. Let cool completely before removing the bars using the foil, cutting, & enjoying.

I'm Lovin' It at TidyMom

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Delicious potatoes au gratin.

Unlike my last recipe post, this is not resolution-friendly. At all. In all fairness, I did make this for Christmas dinner, before New Year’s Resolutions would have been made. If you’re like me & feel you can justify the extra calories because you’re growing a small human in your belly, go for it! It’s so worth it. If you did make a resolution to eat better, then maybe just pin it on Pinterest until a) you make it to your goal weight, or b) you do what I inevitably do & reneg on your resolution in mid-February.

This is a Pioneer Woman recipe, so when it says “serves 8,” it really means “serves 8 hungry cattle ranchers, or 27 cityfolk.” The recipe below is a half recipe, which our family of 3 ate for days afterwards. I also subbed half & half for her 3-to-1 cream-to-milk ratio for two reasons. First, it lightened it up just slightly. But mostly, that’s what I had on hand, because I had made this for Christmas breakfast.

  • 2 whole Russet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 large clove or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup (or to taste) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease a small baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Cut potatoes into third- to half-inch slices, then cut each slice into fourths.
  3. In a smallish bowl, whisk together half & half, flour, garlic, salt, & pepper.
  4. Place half the potatoes in the bottom of the dish, then cover with half of the half & half mixture. Then place the rest of the potatoes over the top & pour the rest of the half & half over the top.
  5. Cover with foil & bake for 30 minutes. Uncover & bake another 20 or until the potatoes are golden brown & fork-tender. Then sprinkle generously with cheese & bake another 5 minutes or until the cheese is nice & bubbly.

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Cast Party Wednesday

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{Secret Recipe Club} Big Soft Ginger Cookies

I’m so excited to be a new member of the Secret Recipe Club! To be honest, Amanda accepted me last month, but I was still feeling so nauseous that she gave me a pass. But I’m so glad I got to participate this month, because let me tell you, these cookies are goooood.

They are Country Woman magazine’s Big Soft Ginger Cookies, & they come from No Reason Needed. The Munchkin devoured them — so did we – & one of the missionaries we had over for dinner mentioned that they made him feel like home: his mom makes them all the time & he loves dipping them in milk.

To me, ginger cookies just feel cozy, like the holidays. So what better time to make them than while your husband’s at Target buying you (okay, himself too) the Michael Buble Christmas album?

I didn’t need to change anything in the recipe for them to turn out perfect. I just rewrote the step order for you below so you dirty fewer measuring cups.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • additional sugar (sanding sugar would be great) for rolling
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together butter & sugar until fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl. Beat in egg & molasses.
  3. With the mixer on low, gradually mix in the flour mixture until well combined.
  4. With clean, slightly damp hands (this was the only way I could keep half the dough from sticking to them), roll dough into 1- to 1.5-inch balls, then roll in sugar. Place a few inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets, then flatten with your palm.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes or until just beginning to brown around the edges.
  6. Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. (Though I must say they are deeelicious warm & gooey straight out of the oven!)

Thanks again to No Reason Needed for such a tasty treat!

Secret Recipe Club 

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The meal that saved the day.

It was one of those days.

It had been raining for three days straight (whoever named Florida the Sunshine State was clearly not here during monsoon season) & we hadn’t been to the park or pool in at least that long. At one point I even heard The Munchkin talking in her sleep about wearing her “other swimsuit” at the swimming pool. In her sleep, people! Clearly this child needed to be outside.

But no. It was still raining. & Mommy was running out of ideas to keep both of us sane until Daddy got home after 7.

So Mommy put some chicken breasts in the sink to thaw for yet another humdrum dinner recipe, put on Mary Poppins (desperate times call for desperate measures), & sat down in front of the computer to look for a recipe for some tilapia I’d just bought on sale. I didn’t find one I loved the sound of (suggestions please!), but what I did find saved the day.

Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s Honey Glazed Chicken got me excited about cooking again! It got My Husband The Lawyer excited to eat it when he walked in the door & smelled it! & it got The Munchkin excited to eat chicken without being bribed with grapes for once!

It sounds silly now that I’m sitting here typing this, but sometimes all it takes is a new yummy recipe to shake things up a bit & pull you out of your it’s-been-pouring-for-3-days-&-I’m-going-crazy rut to keep you sane for just one more day.

Here’s how I made it; I increased the oven temp to shorten cooking time (this recipe was a last-minute decision) & doubled the sauce recipe for you so that you have enough for your rice too — when I made it I halved the amount of chicken (3 breasts was plenty for the 3 of us) but not the sauce, & it was deeeeeelicious. Check her blog to see the real way.

  • 2 lbs. chicken breast, diced
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste (I’ve been loving my Steakhouse Grinder lately & used it for this)
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  1. Preheat your oven to 350. Combine flour, garlic powder, & salt & pepper in a shallow dish.
  2. Melt 2 Tbsp. of your butter & pour into the bottom of a baking dish large enough to fit all of your chicken a single layer.
  3. Coat chicken pieces evenly in flour, then arrange in bottom of dish.
  4. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan on medium heat, combine remaining butter with honey, lemon juice, soy sauce, & ginger. Stir constantly until butter is melted & sauce is well blended.
  6. Remove chicken from oven & increase temperature to 375. Flip over each piece of chicken.
  7. Pour sauce evenly over chicken, then place back in the oven & bake another 20 minutes, basting with a spoon a few times (twice was fine for me) during that time. The chicken will be nice & glazed & delicious.
  8. Serve over rice.


Get Your Craft On Tuesdays

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As seen on Alli-n-Son.

I’m guest posting over at Alli-n-Son today!

Head over there to check out the fun edible covered wagons I made with The Munchkin to teach her about the pioneers!

Please leave her a friendly comment. I hope to see you there!

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Slow-cooked roast with carrots.

I may or may not still be avoiding using my oven. So here’s another slow cooker recipe for you!

I saw this recipe months ago over at Talkin’ Chow, Playin’ House, but never found a roast on sale enough to merit trying it.

Until now!

Now, this is definitely comfort food, so I wouldn’t blame you for waiting to try this until it cools off. It definitely seemed odd to me, seeing this out my window (we have a nature preserve right behind us, & it’s so humid that the windows fog up every morning) & then tossing a big, hearty roast into the Crock Pot. It’s a jungle out there! Literally! But oven vendettas are stronger than heat & humidity.

Whenever you do decide to give it a try, I promise you that you won’t be sorry. My only suggestion would be to season your roast more generously than the Martha recipe suggests (Yes! Even she isn’t perfect sometimes! There is hope for the rest of us!), because the beef tasted bland in comparison to the AWESOME carrots.

  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch (a little more if you want a thicker gravy at the end)
  • 2 Tbsp. cold water (or stock, if you’ve got a container already open; I used chicken broth)
  • 2 lbs. carrots, peeled & cut into thirds
  • 2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 3-lb. beef chuck or rump roast, fat trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp. (plus a splash) Worcestershire
  • salt & pepper, or seasoning of choice (I think a Steakhouse Seasoning grinder would do a fabulous job)
  1. Stir together cornstarch & water (or stock) in bottom of slow cooker until smooth, using a non-scratching utensil.
  2. Add carrots & onion to slow cooker. Season with salt & pepper; toss to combine.
  3. Season both sides of roast generously. Place on top of vegetables. Drizzle with Worcestershire.
  4. Cook on high 6 hours or low for 10 hours.
  5. When finished, slice thinly against the grain. (If you can! Mine was so tender it just shredded. Not the worst problem to have, right?)
  6. Place meat & veggies in a serving dish, then drizzle with the gravy & serve. Or serve the gravy on the side. (I found there wasn’t enough of it for the latter.) Yum!

Get Your Craft On Tuesdays

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There’s always money in the banana stand… (wink wink)

These frozen bananas bring back memories of Balboa Island bananas. Not so frozen you can’t bite into them (like the ones at Disneyland), but still cold & delicious on a hot summer day! The best part about this one is that your kids can dip their own!

Please allow me to explain the use of the Christmas sprinkles.

You see, I followed my own advice & invited some new friends over for dinner Sunday night. I had dinner enough for 4 adults & a Munchkin, but had no idea what to do for dessert. The movers neglected until the last minute to tell us they wouldn’t move food items, so we’ve been slowly restocking baking staples since we’ve been here, & after the previous day’s cobbler I didn’t have much left! Plus, my oven is still refusing to decide how much cooler than real life it actually wants to be, so baking was definitely out of the question.

I was having quite a quandary (like the alliteration there?) when I was going through my Google Reader & saw this great idea over at Talkin’ Chow Playin’ House! Saved! I had bananas, chocolate chips, & some white candy melts I smuggled down from the old apartment. Perfect! But what to decorate them with? I had some sliced almonds… Wait! I’d smuggled Christmas sprinkles too! & only Christmas sprinkles, apparently. So there you go. Christmas frozen bananas. In July. Hey, we’re in Florida, aren’t we? Isn’t it always like 90 degrees on Christmas here?

  1. Cut ripe (but not too ripe) bananas in half, one half for each person.
  2. Use really sharp scissors or wirecutters to snip the pointy ends off of your skewers (one for each half banana), then cut them in half. Poke two into the bottom of each banana half & lay them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet, plate, etc.
  3. Freeze for at least an hour. We ate ours after an hour & a half or so & they were still quite biteable!
  4. Put your chocolate chips in a microwave-safe dish. Add a little oil. (If using candy melts, omit the oil.) Microwave a minute or so & stir until smooth.
  5. Let everyone roll/dip/drizzle their banana in the chocolate & decorate as desired. It doesn’t have to look great (see above) – just taste delicious.
  6. Enjoy!

P.S. If you recognized the quote in the post title, let’s just say My Husband The Recovering Arrested Development Fan & his college roommates would salute you.

Tidy Mom

Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap   up           party!

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Strawberry ice cream. 3 ways.

Before we had to put the ice cream maker away for the move, I wanted to make ice cream one last time. Strawberry ice cream, to be exact. The day after I made this decision, Bridget over at Bake at 350 posted a strawberry ice cream recipe! It was meant to be!

I like to eat ice cream in three ways: 1) with a spoon, 2) with a fork, & 3) with my fingers.

But first, we have to start with the ice cream. Which, in this case, apparently comes from the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream & Dessert Book. After tasting this, I think I may need to go out & buy it.

  • 2 cups hulled & sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 eggs, pasteurized**
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk

** If you can’t or don’t want to buy pasteurized eggs — or don’t realize until you’re already halfway into the recipe that it calls for eggs that don’t get cooked, ahem — pasteurize them at home! The eHow.com link I used is now broken, but the gist is to bring the eggs you’ll be using to room temp, then heat a pot of water (enough to cover the eggs) to between 145 & 160 degrees F (use a candy thermometer; I don’t have one, so I used my meat thermometer, which was much less precise & my whites got just the tiniest bit cooked, but still whisked up just fine). Add the eggs to the water, remove from the heat, & let sit for exactly 3 minutes. Then remove the eggs, rinse with cool water, & use them!

  1. In a small bowl, combine the strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar, & lemon juice. Stir just enough to coat, then cover & refrigerate at least an hour.
  2. Mash the strawberries with a potato masher, pastry blender, or even 2 forks; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs for 1 to 2 minutes, or until frothy & light. Bemoan the fact that your arm is screaming in protest. Vow to start lifting weights again.
  4. Gradually add the 3/4 cup sugar while still whisking (& arm still protesting); whisk (with your left hand now) for one more minute after it’s all been added.
  5. Stir in the cream & milk. Add the strawberries & stir well.
  6. Add the mixture to the chilled canister of your ice cream maker & follow the manufacturer directions to process it.
  7. Remove from the canister to a freezer-safe container & freeze for a few hours to allow it to harden. But not too much. Unless that’s how you like it. In our family… well, to give you an idea, The Munchkin calls it “ice kweam soup.”

Now. How to serve it?

With a spoon: Scoop some into a dessert dish. Add some blueberries for some fruity, patriotic flair.

With a fork: Serve a scoop alongside a slice of my most favorite lemon-blueberry pound cake. So many delicious summer fruits together on one plate? You can’t say no to that.

With your fingers: Press a small, hard scoop between two soft chocolate-chip cookies. When I was in high school, I used to frequent a shop near UCLA called Diddy Riese, where they made amazing ice cream sandwiches using soft, fresh-baked cookies & enormous scoops of Dreyer’s (Edy’s, for you Easterners) ice cream, for only $1! The price has since gone up to $1.50, but the lines are still around the block, the sandwiches are still scrumptious, & this ice-cream/cookie combo still brings back tasty memories.

What’s your favorite way to eat ice cream? Are you an “ice kweam soup” person too?

Tidy Mom

Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap   up           party!



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Blog Lovin’ Award!

This weekend I got a great surprise in my email inbox!

Thanks, Mariajose of A Bit of Everything! I feel very grateful & humbled.

I’m still quite new to the world of blogging, so I didn’t even know what the Blog Lovin’ Award was, but thankfully she posted the directions right on her post!

Here’s what I get to do:

1. Thank & link to the person who nominated you.

Thanks again, Mariajose!

2. Share 7 random facts about yourself.

  1. The food on my plate can’t touch. I have a difficult time at buffets.
  2. I got so burned out as a music major in college that for awhile afterwards I didn’t listen to ANY music at all.
  3. I broke my back 4 years ago. Ouch.
  4. I’m pretty terrified of horses. (See #3)
  5. I’m allergic to olives. But not olive oil. Random, right?
  6. I have like the most sensitive gag reflex ever. (That was SUPER helpful during morningsickness…)
  7. I used to hate the word “blog” because I thought it was an ugly word.

3. Pass the award along to 10 deserving blog buddies.

  1. Smitten with my Kitchen – my friend Tanya’s cooking exploits, including great recipes for food storage items
  2. What Mandy Cooks – Mandy & I grew up together, & many of my recipes are from her!
  3. kalanicut – I knew Kalani when I was a teenager; now she has great ideas for living well, healthily, & happily
  4. A Christian Man’s Hope – Christian inspiration from my cousin-in-law
  5. Circus Tales – my friend Karen’s blog about her incredible experiences as an American-born Chinese mom living in as an expat in China
  6. Recipes to Run On – running inspiration, delicious recipes (many with WW points!), & how she’s making healthy choices in her & her family’s life
  7. Star Hughes Living – yummy recipes, fun crafts, great photos, & hilarious “MBA thoughts”
  8. Leah’s Thoughts – life as a working mom in Southern CA
  9. Chef in Training – delicious recipes!
  10. The Frugal Flambe – ditto!

Click over to some of these other blogs too! I’m sure you’ll find something interesting! Thanks again to Mariajose!

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